Looking for more space and utility but don’t want to lose the athleticism and convenience that an accomplished sports sedan can offer? Then Mitsubishi has you covered with its tantalizingly-styled, fleet of foot 5-door version of the company’s best-selling Lancer sports sedan, the 2011 Lancer Sportback.
And with three different versions of the Lancer Sportback available for the new model year – including the all-new, lowest-priced Lancer ES – this is one hot hatchback that can address an enthusiast driver’s need for speed, lively handling and seating for 5 or plenty of cargo area with the fold-flat back seat stowed.
New for 2011 Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback
All-New Lancer Sportback ES
Mitsubishi makes the already very affordable Lancer Sportback even more attainable with the introduction of the all-new 2011 Lancer Sportback ES version.
Improved Fuel Economy
The entire 2011 Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback model lineup now achieves better highway fuel economy than ever before with the all-new Lancer Sportback ES model leading the way with its spectacular 33 mpg highway.
Fuel-Saving Electric Assist Power Steering (ES model)
The all-new 2011 Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback ES comes with Mitsubishi’s advanced electric assist power steering that helps to improve the vehicle’s overall fuel economy as it eliminates the parasitic drag on the engine that a hydraulic power steering system creates – all while offering the driver terrific steering feel like that of a traditional system.
FUSE HandsFree Link System™ (Lancer Sportback GTS and Ralliart; optional ES)
Included free of charge on every 2011 Lancer GTS and Ralliart model is Mitsubishi’s excellent FUSE HandsFree Link System™ that allows access to your phone, iPod®, or USB drive simply by the sound of your voice. By using voice commands, you can play your favorite songs by genre, artist, album or playlist and make hands-free phone calls.
USB Port (Lancer Sportback GTS and Ralliart; optional ES)
Available on the Lancer ES and standard on the Lancer GTS and Ralliart is a handy USB input port operating popular portable electronic devices including an iPod®.
Room with Zoom – Lancer Evolution-Inspired Chassis
With its Lancer Evolution-inspired front end and uniquely tapering rear hatchback section, the Lancer Sportback has an aggressive and sporty exterior design very similar to its supercar sibling. But the similarities between the two extend well beyond just their looks.
Both the Lancer Evolution and the Lancer Sportback feature Mitsubishi’s impressive next-generation Reinforced Impact Safety Evolution (RISE) highly rigid unibody design technology. And thanks to liberal use of ultra-high-tensile steel and extensive structural bolstering in areas including the roof joints and the side pillars, the Lancer Sportback’s super-stiff platform provides both outstanding performance and exceptional occupant safety.
Both share an advanced suspension system that consists of a MacPherson strut design up front and a tightly packaged multi-link set up and back (front stabilizer bar thicknesses vary between the three models).
While the Lancer Sportback ES features a fuel-saving electric assist power steering system that produces excellent feedback for the driver, both the GTS and Ralliart editions make use of a conventional hydraulic steering system inspired by that found on the Lancer Evolution that emphasizes steering speed and response for especially communicative steering feel.
The braking systems for all three models are very competent performers, with the GTS and Ralliart models including large 11.6-in. diameter ventilated discs up front with an even larger set (11.9 in.) of solid discs employed in the rear. These brake rotors measure a full 1.0 in. thick for the front set with the rear rotors measuring 0.4 in. in thickness. The GTS has single-piston calipers on its front brakes while the more performance-oriented Ralliart makes use of dual-piston calipers.
In addition to the extra room offered by the hatchback layout, handy features that make accessing the rear space even more convenient are a dual level floor design (Lancer Sportback ES and GTS models) along with a release lever in the cargo area that lowers (folds) the 60/40 rear seatbacks flat.
3 Lancer Sportbacks, 3 Exceptional Engines
Each 2011 Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback model features its own unique engine, with peak horsepower ratings of 148 horsepower for the entry-level ES, 168 bhp for the mid-grade GTS and a vigorous 237 bhp on tap in the stellar Ralliart edition.
Setting the entry-level Lancer Sportback ES in motion is a very fuel-efficient 2.0-liter (1998 cc) DOHC MIVEC 16-valve normally-aspirated 4-cylinder engine that achieves a welcome 33 mpg highway fuel economy. Designated internally as the 4B11 engine, this unit is essentially a non-turbocharged version of the powerplant found under the ventilated aluminum hood of the extreme Lancer Evolution super sports sedan.
The mid-level Lancer Sportback GTS includes a more powerful, larger displacement 4B12-designated engine that measures 2.4-liters in displacement (2360 cc) and has an increased compression ratio of 10.5:1 to the previously mentioned 4B11′s 10.0:1. Power is rated at 168 horsepower (161 bhp from PZEV-rated engine in cars sold in California) at 6,000 rpm and 167 lb-ft. of torque (PZEV – 161) at 4,100 rpm.
Both the Lancer Sportback ES and the GTS models are available with either a crisp-shifting 5-speed manual transmission or Mitsubishi’s advanced 6-speed continuously-variable transmission (CVT) with INVEC-III technology for the smoothest shifts possible.
Reigning supreme in performance is the 2.0-liter turbocharged 4B11T engine in the Lancer Sportback Ralliart that makes a hearty 237 hp at 6,000 rpm and an even more impressive 253 lb.-ft. of constant torque between 2,500 and 4,750 rpm.
All three of these engines share several key design characteristics including an aluminum block and cylinder head along with a 6,500 rpm redline. Both the ES and GTS engines can run on regular unleaded (87 octane minimum) gasoline with the turbocharged Ralliart engine requiring premium unleaded of at least 93 octane.
Turbocharged Lancer Sportback Ralliart: 5 Doors, No Waiting
Essentially a slightly detuned, 5-door version of Mitsubishi’s legendary Lancer Evolution sports sedan, the turbocharged 2011 Lancer Sportback Ralliart may be the most dynamic grocery getter/family hauler available in the North American market today.
The Lancer Sportback Ralliart comes equipped with a slightly modified version of the Lancer Evolution MR’s sensational 6-speed Twin-Clutch Sportronic Shift Transmission (TC-SST) that enables instantaneous upshifts and downshifts with no need for a driver-operated clutch pedal that are perfectly matched to the engine’s speed via advanced electronics every time. The driver can execute shifts by pushing forward or pulling back on the transmission’s shift lever or Formula 1 style, thanks to lightweight magnesium alloy panel shifters behind the steering wheel. The TC-SST system can also be set to different driving modes – Normal and Sport – with the latter improving the transmission’s performance by improving throttle response while allowing for higher shift points and even faster shifting. What’s more, the driver can choose to shift gears manually or switch to a fully automated mode that allows the system to shift on its own like a conventional automatic transmission.
The Lancer Sportback Ralliart also includes an advanced All-Wheel Control (AWC) system that bestows this stylish 5-door with a remarkable degree of increased grip and handling capability. AWC includes an Active Center Differential (ACD) that can split power up to a 50:50 mix between the front and rear wheels using an electronically-controlled hydraulic multi-plate clutch; limited-slip front and rear differentials that can bias power side to side between the front wheels and also the rear wheels; and Active Stability Control (ASC) with Traction Control Logic (TCL). The ASC system includes both traction control and stability control and helps to stabilize the vehicle further by better controlling engine power and the brake force at each individual wheel.
Safety at the Fore in the Entire Lancer Sportback Lineup
Every 2011 Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback model includes a full complement of the latest in high-tech safety features and technologies. These include advanced dual-stage front air bags with seat position sensors; side-impact head protection curtain air bags for both the front and rear seating sections; front seat-mounted side air bags; a driver’s side knee air bag; anti-lock braking system (ABS) with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD); Active Stability Control (ASC) with Traction Control Logic (TCL); an active front seat structure to help reduce whiplash injury; and a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) that alerts the driver to a decrease in air pressure to an unsafe level in one of the tires.
Included as standard on the Lancer Sportback Ralliart model is Mitsubishi’s Hill Start Assist (HSA) technology that, when the vehicle is descending a grade or ascending a slope, will hold the car in a stationary position for several seconds after the driver has removed their foot from the brake pedal until they can engage the gas pedal.
Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc., (MMNA) is responsible for all manufacturing, finance, sales, marketing, research and development operations for Mitsubishi Motors in the United States. MMNA sells coupes, convertibles, sedans, sport utility vehicles, crossover utility vehicles, and light trucks through a network of approximately 400 dealers. For more information, contact the Mitsubishi Motors News Bureau at (888) 560-6672 or visit media.mitsubishicars.com.
Price this car:
MSRP: $16,795 – $27,895
Invoice: $16,086 – $26,717
Source: Mitsubishi Press Release (media.mitsubishicars.com)